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OK, I've been kicking around an idea for a meta plot story arc to try out. Well, really I just have an idea... what I can't quite figure out is how to build this into a story arc that doesn't escalate to "instant player death for knowing too much."

The idea is that there is allot more to psionic magicians then previously thought. Yes, some psionic mages are just crackpots... but most are people with a real gift for psionic magic and they drift into the psionic tradition because that is the only one makes any sense to them. Then one day a psion mage, after years of research and struggle, finally develops a new metamagic techinique... that he imaginatively calls "awaken true psionic potential". You or I would just call it dragonspeach.

The mystery is that some humans seem to have draconic genes in their ancestory. They aren't immortal elves or drakes... though they might be related. Having them have either drake or Denaiarastas ancestry would probably work best. What they do have is an affinitiy for psionic magic (something like an edge that gives them a -1 target number on all drain tests for psionic magic). This edge however can be "awakened" to true dragonspeach through initiation.

The idea for the campain would be that the players discover this (perhaps one of the players has the edge and is investigating rumors that its more then it seems). Perhaps the psionic who developed the technique doesn't even realize the draconic connection. It would be left for the players to figure out the connection. At the same time, the IEs and dragons (or at least some of them) become aware of this development also. Ideally this would be a complete suprise to the dragons, and lead to alot of infighting and recrimination as they try to figure out how this happened and what they are going to do about it.

The problem I have is that though I love the story idea, I can't see how I can keep it from spiraling out of the players control once the immortals get involved. Likewise I don't want this to launch the campain into an ultra-high power mode... I would rather keep the campain mid-level in power (i.e., the characters are tough, but still scared shitless by megas and immortal elves and dragons).

Any suggestions on where I could go with this idea?

The thing about Those Who Control The World is that they don't like attention. Getting heavily involved, saying "OH MY GOD WE HAVE TO SNUFF THIS OUT", blowing stuff up... that's just no good. They downplay weaknesses. "Oh, you found out about this secret? Meh, not like it's really important". They manipulate others into discrediting you. Martyrs = bad. Loonies = good. So the PCs would not face the dragons head on. Contacts would hear false rumours about the PCs and not hire them anymore. Jobs would dry up. Searches for the truth would go nowhere. But to keep the players interested, obviously, you have to make them be able to win. So they'd have to meet people who know a little, like them. By adding all these fragments, a bigger picture emerges. And they now know enough to be usefull to the enemies of these dragons or whatever. So now you have Faction vs Faction with the PCs in between. They become powerfull as they start knowing valuable secrest of both sides. Now they have to decide with whom they'll throw their lot in. Which side is worst? Dragons that control the world, but with the intention of helping the stupid humans, or dragon hunting elves that say the believe in the freedom of the lesser races (but maybe secretly want Elves on top instead of dragons).
I'm working on a large story arc with similar power players in it. The characters, on the other hand, will simply be hired by a Johnson to do a job. As they complete their work, they'll be paid, etc. and life is good. Then, I hope to hook them with current events in their area that point to them.

For example, runners hired to steal nifty magical object from museum. They deliver as expected. Shortly after, the area is lit up at night by a powerful mana storm centered in a specific area of the city. News casts say rumors are that a power magical object was used in ritual magic by parties unknown. Just enough information that the players might realize that they were involved in this. The next time that Johnson hires them, they might be a little more careful and they may try to investigate. Then, follow above scheme -- loose ends get tied, ideas go no where for a while until a contact of a contact gets involved and gives them more information -- maybe a new job.

Let the players feel like their just up to the usual stuff until the world around them gets weird. They're just doing a job until they find out that their job results level a portion of a city, something like that.

Oh, and nothing like a good thwarted assassination attempt to make the players (a) paranoid and (b) sure that they're on the right track. Plus, everyone likes a good game of tag between assassins and the PCs in the streets of <insert_city_name_here>.
Necro Tech
You could probably keep it low key by having 2-4 power players (IE, dragons, what ever) start their own investigations through proxy. Maybe the elves want to see how far it goes so they start hiring the runner to do little errands and then keep tabs on them. The the dragons find out (make it a fairly benevolent one like Hestaby) and they start interfering with the elves to lure the players away and make their own studies. Let the players spot a tail or two and see if they can connect it to either side. The original Harelequin or SotF could be inspirational for this. You could even have the two sides using the runners to make hits against each others proxies to give them a clue.

As long as both sides are using the carrot instead of the stick this could go on for quite a while.
mmmmmmm ..... carrots
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